August in the Vegie Patch

greenhouse toms1

What to plant and sow in August

Here’s what I can plant in my Levin garden, given that at the mo. my soil is 10 degrees and night temps range from 3 to 13. Another key thing is my soil, which is easily workable from all those years of care. If you are on heavy clay and your soil is soggy as, best to plant into pots and boxes until its workable.

Meantime keep building and converting clay to soil, you’ll get there!

If you’re a beginner and unsure what suits your place just take the plunge and have a go – it’s simply the best way to learn. Its how us old gardeners know stuff, by all our flop crops!

Direct sow outside: peas, snow peas, broad beans, mustard, lupin or phacelia greencrop, miners lettuce, corn salad, spinach, radish, kohlrabi, parsnip, rocket, spring onions

miners lettuce

Miners lettuce is one of our winter/ spring favourites! Cut and come again – juicy and yum.

Direct sow under cover: coriander, saladings, beetroot

Tray sow: broccoli, cabbage, lettuces, onions

Plant outside: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, onions, shallots, spring onions, perpetual beet, silverbeet, rhubarb. Strawberries can go in now, but May really is the best time!

Plant under cover: sprouted potatoes, lettuce

Borage for Bees

Good Companions: Direct sow heaps of companion flowers like calendula, cornflower, borage, stocks, larkspur, love in the mist, poppies, heartsease and divide up herbs and perennials to build your beneficial insect fodder and habitat.

Lupin greencrops sown this month will be pre-flower and ready to cut down come October. A perfectly timed precursor to mid spring plantings of heavy feeders. Think corn! tomatoes! squash!.

chitting potatoes

Chit potatoes and get some lovely stocky sprouts – ready for planting this month or next.

Lots of Onions in a Small Space

3 in 1 hole onions

Three times as many in fact – I’ve got x 102 in a 2m x 1.2m space using my 3 onions in 1 hole trick. Or rather, Eliot Coleman’s 3 in 1 hole trick (honour where honour is due).

The onions pop up kind of sideways as they grow and fill the space nicely.

They seem happier this way. Such flimsy seedlings for so long, it must be nice, tucked up with their mates, rather than flailing about on their own.

onions - 3 in 1 hole

Trim the roots and tops before planting for plumper bulbs at the end. Plant at 20cm spacings.

Preventing garlic rust

Garlic under insect mesh

Keeping our garlic weed free is putting our best foot forward in the rust prevention game – let there be airflow! A monthly liquid feed also does wonders especially if it includes slow ferment NZ seaweed and/ or EM.

I’ve put my garlic under high hoops covered with insect mesh as an experiment to see if that will stop those airborne fungal spores. Watch this space.

When to get started raising tomatoes, peppers and aubergines from seed

tomatoes ready to plant out

Tomatoes, aubergines and peppers are ready to transplant 6 – 8 weeks after sowing. If you have a greenhouse or live in the winterless north then you can get on the job this month.  I will be sowing mine this Saturday – the moon is just right. At this cold time of year you need a heat pad or hot water cupboard or hotbox to get the soil in your seed raising flats 20 degrees. Otherwise your peppers wont get out bed for you.

Without these things I suggest you wait until conditions are right. Summer crops flourish in summery weather – funny that! Forced to contend with cold nights, chilly mornings and heavy soil, they stumble, trip and flop.

With so many cool things to sow and plant right now, there’s no need to force it. Besides, moving with the seasons is the whole point right.


  1. Joy Anderton says

    Kia ora Kath and all lounge-locked gardeners
    Sitting watching the watertable rise by the minute here in Otaki it was a heart warming moment to receive your welcome message Kath.
    Even in the rain the first flush of miniature spring bulbs popping up is a delight.
    At least with all the fires there’ll be plenty of wood ash to boost the compost heap. Thanks for the words of wisdom Kath

  2. Helen B-Mills says

    I look forward so much to your bright and cheerful and very helpful news letters every month. Thank you Kath.

  3. Hello Kath,

    What is EM for your soil?
    Enjoy your news letters, very much!

    • Hi Carina

      Glad you enjoy the newsletters!

      Em is effective microorganisms – a team of beneficial fungi, bacteria, yeasts to out compete the bad guys and improve soil health so your plants grow with gusto! Like how yoghurt or kefir build a strong population of beneficial microorganisms in your gut. The website has heaps of info.


  4. Hi Cath, do you know were to buy Maori seed potatoes from?

  5. Hi Kath,
    Crop rotation – afraid I’m still at Winnie the poo stage.
    With limited space and other site challenges I tend to have one sheltered bed where lettuces thrive, one good sunny spot for garlics and toms, one against-the-fence place for beans, etc. Any thoughts?

    Amongst my many neglected beds are some strawberry plants that did ok last year so a pegged out the runners, gave them a lovely seaweed mulch and tucked them up for winter.
    Yesterday I hoed the weeds and gave them a sprinkle of the last of my rok solid. What more can I do – I should I have done – to make sure I land in strawberry heaven?
    Thanks so much,

    • As ever, my thoughts are about noticing how things go and adjusting accordingly. Getting to know your own particular space. In tight places containers are super useful because you can empty the soil onto beds and refresh minimise soil borne disease that way. Teaming good companions up is another great way to use space better for example dwarf beans beneath tomatoes – nitrogen feeder + heavy feeder is a winner. A succession of greencrops in between is another strategy to clean/ rest/ rebuild soil between times if growing the same annual crop repeatedly in one spot.
      As for strawbs, sounds like you’ve done great things here. Next year in May might I suggest spreading a generous layer of rotten manure, grows the best berries ever! but the key is time for it to incorporate. If you’ve got a big strong set of leaves on your plants you’ll have a great crop – if not keep plucking off the flowers and build your foliage with liquid seaweed or some such and let them flower when they’ve got enough leaves to support berries. Mulch now will minimise fungal splash back and hold moisture – oh so important for these shallow rooters.
      happy days

  6. Kia ora Kath,

    Well done you for the sensible boundary keeping – we all love the monthly emails and fabulous blog posts and would rather they kept coming than let the lot fall over because you’re spent from late nights answering our individuals! Keep up the awesome work 😊

  7. Hi Kath,
    Thank you for your precious advice,
    Do you have any book to recommend to start gardening with the moon? I have never paid attention to the moon but my grand mother does and her garden is thriving so I want to give it a go.

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